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Karuppanna Swamy – About Hindu God Karuppasamy

Karuppanna Swamy, or Karuppusamy, is a very popular Hindu village deity in Madurai, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram and Trichy districts of Tamil Nadu. He is the guardian deity of the village and destroyer of evil spirits haunting the village. He is one of the 21 folk deities associated with Aiyanar.

Legend has it that Karuppanna Swamy appeared from the right hand of Lord Vishnu and hence also known as ‘Kaianaar.’ ‘Kai’ means hand.

The temple of Karuppanna Swamy is just outside the village as he is the guardian of the village. He will be standing on a raised platform mostly under a tree.
He is generally depicted with large eyes and moustache, and holding a sword, bow and arrow, sickle or a club. He is with two arms and has dark skin tone. In some instances, Karuppanna Swamy will be standing along with 7 virgin goddesses (kanniyamar), hunting dog, lion, horse and other animals.

Different Names of Karuppanna Swamy

  • Sangili Karuppan – Holds Iron Chain
  • Cappani Karuppan – Holds a noose
  • Pathinettam Padi Karuppan at Azhagar Kovil near Madurai guards the village temple
  • Aladi Karuppan – When he is under a banyan tree
  • Mavadi Karuppan – When he is under a mango tree.
Karuppanna Swamy is worshipped by all Hindus and the priests are from different castes depending on the region. A particular Karuppanna Swamy is a particular village will have attained cult status and he will be worshiped vigorously by the villages especially during the annual festival.

The main offerings include flowers, local fruits, lamp and clothes. In some regions during festival and important ritual, he is offered goat, rooster, and alcohol. Various intoxicating objects are also offered to the deity.

Annual Festival

The clan of the priest plays a key role during the annual rituals and festivals. A fortnight or month before the annual festival a person chosen from the clan of the priest becomes oracle. On the chosen day, the oracle enters into a state of trance and address the audience as the direct messenger of Karuppanna Swamy. Social, family, financial and other issues are settled by the words of the oracle.

The annual festival is usually a three day affair. Villagers do not go outside the village once the festival begins. But people from nearby villages and towns visit the village to offer prayers to Karuppanna Swamy.

Karuppanna Swamy Worship Around The World

Tamilians who have settled around the world have taken Karuppanna Swamy with them. Thus we have him worshipped in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, South Africa and in the various islands in the Caribbean in the name of Dee Baba, Mangadu Karuppu, and Sangili Karuppan.